from All the Wrong Moves

I’ve got another significant neural issue on top of aphantasia—bipolar disorder, which had rubbed my face in moods like this before, throughout my early twenties. Having had more than a few episodes, I’ d become quite familiar with the stink of futility that lives right next door to suicidal thoughts. And, in turn, I knew that this darkness was often preceded by a period of ecstatic intellectual absorption. Over and over again, I’d become totally fascinated by something and dive into it until the fascination withered abruptly, at which point I’d start missing meals and thinking in a sort of low-key way about how I could maybe kill myself.

So, it occurred to me, in Bangkok, as I started feeling like a sack of fatback left under a heat lamp, that I might be in the middle of this cycle again. Perhaps my chess infatuation was just another vanishing fancy—another instance of my manic mind urging me to adopt an unlikely persona that would be discarded as soon as my self-loathing dictated that it should be.

—Sasha Chapin
—found in All the Wrong Moves: A Memoir About Chess, Love, and Ruining Everything (2019)

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